Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Wizards Are Glad To Be Home

Last week, I told a local TV producer that I thought the Wizards would make it to the second round of the playoffs. Upon hearing this, the producer rolled his eyes at me. We both agreed that the Wizards were the better team but the producer argued that LeBron would get bailed out by the refs.

Flash forward one week:

The Wizards actually should have won game 1. In fact, had they made one shot down the stretch, you could argue that the game would have been over. As things would have it, that didn't happen.

In game 2, the Wizards spirits were still crushed from game 1. The team was settling for jumpers and committing lazy fouls on defense.

Though the officiating has been a little suspect, it has yet to determine the outcome of a game. So on that front, I give the refs props.

The behavior of Mike Brown needs to be more closely scrutinized by the league. After every Wizards foul, he runs around like he's trying to hold in explosive diarrhea.

I think Brendan "Flagrant Foul" Haywood said it best. Haywood said, "C'mon Mike. That man's name is LeBron James not LeBron Brown. He' s not your son."

Look for the Wiz to win tonight and look for them to take game 4 as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cavs-Wizards Playoff Preview

Since Arenas bricked two potential game-winning free throws in the playoffs two years ago, Wizards fans have been waiting for this match up (last year didn't count for obvious reasons).

Position-by-Position Breakdown

Point Guard: Antonio Daniels & Gilbert Arenas vs. Delonte West

The Wizards have the clear edge at this position. Antonio will start and Gilbert will finish. Delonte West can shoot but is not really a threat to get in the lane and put up big assist numbers (then again does he need to with LeBron?). In a best case scenario for Cleveland, West will be able to knock down spot-up three-pointers off LeBron kick outs.

Clear Edge: Wizards

SG: DeShawn Stevenson vs. LeBron James

While LeBron isn't listed as a two, he'll be matched up with DeShawn. Guarding LeBron is going to be a team effort. If DeShawn can keep LeBron in the 30-point range rather than the 40-point range, he'll be doing well. You just can't stop LeBron on the drive so it's key that DeShawn baits him into taking jumpers.

Clear Edge: Cavs

SF: Caron Butler vs. Devin Brown

Caron will be guarding Brown on defense allowing him to rest and conserve all his energy for offense. If Caron's mid-range jumper is falling (and it usually is) look for him to have a big series. Numbers wise, Caron is in an elite group just below LeBron as far as points, assists, and rebounds. Devin Brown is terrible but he does hustle so the Wiz can't sleep on him too much.

Clear Edge: Wizards

PF: Antawn Jamison vs. Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace doesn't impress me at all. He is a major downgrade from Gooden (a guy who's killed the Wizards in past years). His defense is nice but he gives you absolutely nothing on offense. Jamison is having a career year and his inside-outside style will make Wallace uncomfortable.

Edge: Wizards

C: Brendan Haywood vs. Z. Ilgauskas

Big Z is a big dude. If his turn-around jumper is on, you can't stop him. On the downside, he's incredibly slow and injury prone. Haywood is having a career year. His free throws aren't that much of a liability anymore and his length on defense is really disruptive.


The Cavs bring experienced players off the bench but "experienced players" don't always equate to good players. The Cavs have several three-point threats but it's risky to rely so heavily on the deep ball. Varejao is a disruptor and will probably give the Wizards bigs problems. Daniel Gibson is the most overrated player in the NBA (he got hot in one playoff game and now people think he's a star). For the Wizards, Mason will bring three-point shooting, Blatche will be a disruptor, Songalia will bring interior scoring, and Nick Young could be an X-factor.

Slight Edge: Wiz

Coaching: Eddie Jordan vs. Mike Brown

When you have LeBron on your team, a coach isn't that important. Brown has struggled to manage his team since dealing Larry Hughes. Eddie Jordan is arguably having a COY-type season. The way he's kept his team afloat, despite so many injuries, says a lot about his ability to motivate players to buy into his system.

Edge: Wiz

Prediction: Wizards in six games

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Obama Can Ball

For those of you who didn't see Bryant Gumbel's HBO piece on Barack Obama's love for basketball, it might be worth a look.

In the limited amount of footage they showed, Obama had a decent handle and seemed like a really clever passer. He had several assists of the no-look variety in a pick-up game with military personnel.

If I had to compare him to a current Wizard, it would probably be Antonio Daniels. Both players would rather drive to ball to the rim than shoot.

By his own admission, Barack said shooting was his liability (although I will say his form looked better than Brendan Haywood's).

While I doubt we'll see Barack at the playoffs this April, he might be a neighbor of the Verizon Center next January.

How many attempts do you think it would take for Hillary Clinton to make a lay-up?

I'm guessing double digits.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bring On The Pulitzer. Did The Washington Post Plagiarize This Blog?

What do this blog and the Washington Post have in common? My reporting on Condoleezza Rice's haircut (see previous post) was the impetus for a Washington Post snippet.

On Friday, after I saw Condi Rice at the Watergate, I emailed Marissa Newhall of the Washington Post and sent her a link to this blog.

Nearly one hour after I sent her the link, I received this email:

"Great sighting! I got the salon to confirm so I'm going to make a mentionin tomorrow's Names and Faces column. Thanks!"

Sure enough, I opened up Saturday's Washington Post and found this:

"Spotted: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, sporting a fresh haircut, turned heads on her way out of Watergate Salon yesterday"

Here's the full link:

Hmmmm, if the phrase "sporting a fresh haircut" looks familiar, that's because I originally wrote it (see previous post).

I'm not really offended. If anything, it's a little gratifying to have my words printed in the Washington Post.

But isn't that plagiarism?

So, if you thought this blog was some amateurish garbage, think again. When the Washington Post wins its next Pulitzer in investigative reporting, I too can take satisfaction in the victory.

P.S. If any gossip columnists want to hire me, I'm available.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Saw Condi Today

Disclaimer: By the time you're done reading this post, the FBI will have hunted me down.

I was enjoying a couple of slices of pepperoni pizza at the Watergate around 1pm this afternoon and I noticed a slew of people in dark suits standing at various locations outside the entrance to the Watergate Salon.

About 15 minutes into my meal, I looked up from the outdoor bench where I was sitting and sure enough Condi emerged from the Salon sporting a fresh haircut. She and her squadron of secret service officers walked right past me and up a stairwell.

Reaction to her rare public appearance was mixed.
-A female security guard who worked at the Watergate stood jaw-dropped as Condi passed her.
-A man sitting at the bench next to me said loud enough for everyone to hear, "Is that it?"
-I'm pretty sure I heard someone say, "She was supposed to come to my shop."
-Last but not least, I saw a women who had just been informed that Condi walked by and the women replied, "Oh well, I was getting a sale at CVS."

I really need to start carrying a camera.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Golden Opportunity

When you see Boston and Detroit on your schedule you usually cringe. However, with Boston and Detroit locked up in the one and two seeds respectively those two teams can afford to rest their big guns.

While the next two games will hardly be cake walks, it will be nice seeing Rodney Stuckey instead of Rip Hamilton and Big Baby instead of KG.

Believe it or not, the Wizards have a decent chance of crawling into the four seed. But let's not jump too far ahead of ourselves.

Perhaps the biggest game of this week is Saturday against Philly. With the Sixers and Raptors nipping at the Wizards' heels it is crucial that the Wizards pick up as many games as they can on the competition.

If the Wizards can stay out of the seven or eight spot, look out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Painful Loss (pun intended) and Mr. Noodle Soup

As I got off the metro at Farragut North Wednesday night, I observed the rare sight of a wrecking ball tear through a ten-story building leaving a pile of rubble in its wake.

Such a seen was only fitting after the Wizards' spirits were crushed in a heartbreaking 110-109 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.

The return of a red-hot Gilbert Arenas was spoiled by a D-League point guard named Ramon Sessions. Before this game, I thought Ramon Sessions was a brand of noodle soup (see above).

Getting back to the wrecking ball analogy.

With about six seconds remaining in the game, Caron Butler dove on the floor to force a jump ball. In that one sequence, Antawn Jamison left the game clutching his shoulder, DeShawn Stevenson limped off the court, and Caron grabbed his ailing left wrist in a fit of pain. In essence, a pile of rubble developed.

The basketball gods must not like this team. If I were Brendan Haywood (the only starter not to have any serious injuries this year), I'd wear a some of those old man knee pads (see photo) Friday against Miami.